On this day, three years ago, we lost a legend: Gary Andrew Speed MBE
We all have heroes. You may have read about some in the first two parts of the Wanderers Project (part three coming out soon by the way).
You may admire or idolise someone in different ways or for different reasons.
Gary Speed was and still is after his death a huge inspiration of mine. He was a man of great stature within football, representing his country almost 100 times, playing 841 times over a 20+ year career and managing his country with great success.
This’ll just be a short post, and I don’t think it’ll do justice to the career and life of an incredible man whom football misses very very dearly.
The family man was an incredible figure at Bolton- already well into his career- he still gave everything he possibly could whenever he played. I don’t know what my favourite memory of Gary Speed is.
Perhaps it would be his composure as he stepped up to dispatch penalties. I don’t think we’ve had anyone nearly as reliable since his time.
Maybe it was his header against Reading which made him (at the time) the first player to score in every season of the Premier League.
I think we all know that his calm nature and leadership would serve him well as he ventured onto pastures new.
After barely any time managing at Sheffield United, his outstanding credentials as a player saw him named as Wales manager.
This would never be an easy job and there were times during which he struggled, though his successes most certainly outweigh his failures during his short time at the helm. A highlight for me was watching his team line up at Wembley. The attacking ethos he had implemented saw his side play some terrific football and only just lose 1-0 to a star-studded England side.
Though, on November 27th 2011, football was robbed of an inspiration to so so many, a family man, a football man.
Gary Speed was an amazing servant to his clubs and country. His contributions to the game will linger long in the memory of many.